How many sold? German tank problem:serial nums wtd

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SarahWalker
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How many sold? German tank problem:serial nums wtd

Postby SarahWalker » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:03 pm

Current totals :

Estimates I'm reasonable certain of :

Electron - 351,948 (334,189 UK, 17,759 German)
Electron Plus 1 - 54,078 (probably 50,000)
Electron Plus 3 - 8,119 (probably 8,000)
Master 128 - 263,647
Master Compact - 39,815
Archimedes 310 - 28,140
Archimedes A410/1 - 9,887

Estimates I'm not so certain of (not enough samples, or not varied enough) :

BBC A/B - 646,027
of which :
- ANx01 - 489,701
- ANB02 - 31,193 (only five sample)
- ANB03 - 80,009
- ANB04 - 45,124 (only six samples)

6502 second processors - 11,343 (current serial numbers actually suggest a run of 10,000 plus a second, much smaller, run)

A3000 (UK) - 122,350 (only two samples of 25-AKB01, rest are 01-AKB01)
RiscPC 600 - 32,435 (lots of models not seen)
RiscPC 700 - 8,539 (lots of models not seen)
StrongARM RiscPC - 3,727 (lots of models not seen)

Estimates that are complete guesses (only one or two sample, or one sample of several models) or where parts of serial numbers are uncertain :

German BBC B - 1,885 (only 1 sample)
US BBC B - 20,396 (only 2 samples)
BBC B+ 64K - 62,591 (only 8 samples, of 4 different product codes)
BBC B+ 128K - 5,680
Master ET - 5,716
Archimedes 305 - 3,849 (only 1 sample)
Archimedes 420/1 - 1,240 (only 3 samples)
Archimedes 440 - 475 (only 3 samples)
Archimedes 440/1 - 5,787 (only 4 samples from 2 production lines)
Archimedes A540 - 3,460 (only 6 samples from 2 production lines)
German A3000 - 275 (only 1 sample)
A3010 - 36,054 (not enough samples of too many product codes)
A3020 - 189,236 (not enough samples of too many product codes. Massive overestimate, correct number is probably more like 1/2 to 2/3)
A4 - 4,722
A5000 - 24,563 (not enough samples of too many product codes)
A5000 alpha - 1,307 (only 2 samples, from different production lines)
A7000 - 14,906 (lots of models not seen, only 1 each)
A7000+ - 12,015 (lots of models not seen, only 1 each)
R260 - 2,932 (only 4 samples, not spaced out enough)




Hi everyone

I was intrigued by this article on the excellent pagetable.com recently - http://www.pagetable.com/?p=547 - in which the number of C64s sold is calculated using serial numbers and the 'German Tank Problem' formula.

Now, to my knowledge, there are no official sales figures for any of BBC/Electron/Master/Arc etc, only guesses. In a moment of slight madness, I was wondering - why not try this with Acorn serial numbers? I've had a stab with my Master 128 and the two on Chris Whytehead's site, which suggests around 300,000 Masters were sold, rather than the more common estimate of 200,000. Obviously the more serial numbers available for analysis the more accurate the estimate.

So is anyone interested? Or am I talking to myself again ;)
Last edited by SarahWalker on Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:12 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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PitfallJones
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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby PitfallJones » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:30 pm

What a good idea - I know Atari people do this with the 'Heavy Sixer' models and I've done it in the past before buying 2nd hand cars - making big lists of model types against year - very informative.
-PJ

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby paulv » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:41 pm

So is anyone interested? Or am I talking to myself again


I take it that's a subtle request for serial numbers? If so...

Model A/B's
Astec manufactured
03ANB01-3005073 (Issue 7)

Keltek manufactured
08ANB01-3015973 (Issue 4 (late))

AB manufactured (different serials)
139964 (Issue 4 (early))

Cleartone manufactured
103399 (Issue 2)

Master 128
01-AMB15-0126836

Paul

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby SarahWalker » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:58 pm

Thanks, that's a good start! Should probably add my own I suppose, would show willing.

Electrons
06-ALA01-0078775
07-ALA01-0155303

Electron Plus 3 (incase anyone can be bothered ;) )
04-ALA13-0100623

Master 128
01-AMB15-0061515

R260
01-UNX26-1002303

RiscPC 700
72-ACB75-1010293

Probably some of the digits have specific meanings (there obviously aren't a million R260s! - and there may be different series per manufacturer for the model Bs) but they'll be easier to spot once we have a few.

So far though, all the Master 128 serials I've seen are the form of 01-AMB15-xxxxxxx so I'd say that's probably a straight run.

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby paulv » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:07 pm

Oooh, if you want Arcs and Elks too...

A410/1 - 27-AKB40-1002612
A3000 - 01-AKB01-1013071

Electron - 07-ALA01-0158014

Paul

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jms2
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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby jms2 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:49 pm

I must admit that these serial numbers have always intrigued me. They obviously contain quite a bit of hidden meaning but its not at all obvious how to figure it out. Beebmaster's website has quite a good list but no positive deductions.

Anyway my list is as follows. I must point out that I no longer own quite so many Electrons!


Elk: 07-ALA01-0007393
Plus 1: 12-ALA11-1008017
Elk2: 07-ALA01-0132842
Elk3: 02-ALA01-0013244
Plus 1: 12-ALA11-1001412
Plus 3: 04-ALA13-0107510
Elk4: 07-ALA01-0082614
BBC B: 01-ANB03-5024856
Compact keyboard: 27-ADB10-0107348
Compact PSU: 25-ADD04-1001277
BBC B: 03-ANB01-3050390
Risc PC: 72-ACB15-1012065
Master: 01-AMB15-0255249
A3000: 01-AKB01-1096965

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby SarahWalker » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:07 pm

Thanks for those. I think the main serial number form is reasonably straightforward - first two digits I think are manufacturer, then the product code (eg ANB01 for a standard BBC B), then the serial - but usually not starting from zero!

Anyway, I've collated these and a bunch from tinternet (Chris's Acorns, Beebmaster, Wouter Ras's site), which has given me a better understanding of the task ahead.

BBCs will be difficult due to the sheer number of manufacturers, but the numbers I've got so far suggest a lower amount than is usually reported (around 400-500k rather than million+). Though this depends on what serial numbers get collected - it may well turn out to be higher.

Later Arcs and RiscPCs will be difficult due to the number of product codes involved (Acorn loved releasing many variations of machines by this point). Also they seem to have started the serial counting at arbitrary points - maybe to disguise the low number of machines sold?

The middle period is easier though. I can at this stage give reasonable estimates of

Electron - 325,234
Electron Plus 1 - 21,226
Master 128 - 297,789
Master Compact - 39,238
A310 - 21,056
A3000 - 146,068
A410/1 - 9,571

though this is subject to change depending on what gets posted here.

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby paulv » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:16 pm

A410/1 - 9,571


Oooh... Almost as rare as a Jupiter Ace.... Shame they don't go for the same price :shock:

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby BeebMaster » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:06 am

jms2 wrote:I must admit that these serial numbers have always intrigued me. They obviously contain quite a bit of hidden meaning but its not at all obvious how to figure it out. Beebmaster's website has quite a good list but no positive deductions.


Yiz- that page is hopelessly out of date! Really what I should have been doing is updating the page every time somebody sent me a serial number or I came across a new one. Instead what has been happening is nothing.

Everything that's gone in storage has had the serial number recorded (where it exists) so that would probably be a starting point for me.

I did read the page linked to, and I may have missed the operative sections, or just become bereffledrumped by the whole thing, but I didn't see any tanks that I could discern.

Are we speaking in a Lieut. Gruber context or some other type of tank?
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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby SarahWalker » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:12 am


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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby jms2 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:21 am

I agree, I think the first 2 digits are manufacturer. But I wonder how the product codes were worked out?

The first letter seems to be the business division - A for Acorn, G for Acorn Germany, S for acornsoft. OK, so "UNX" is an exception to this rule.

No idea what the second letter means. L=Electron and M=Master are both reasonably logical, but why K=Archimedes when monitors were given the letters AKF?

There seems to be some pattern to the third letter - its usually a B. I think this means BBC branding which might explain why its A for the Electron. That said the Risc PC is "ACB" so that undermines the theory somewhat. Maybe the person who devised the system had left by that point!

The two digits seem to designate variants within a basic product, or add ons. But I wonder why the two parts of the Master Compact don't share the same three-letter code?

I know it's all irrelevant but I like the challenge of trying to crack a code!

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby tautology » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:28 am

From the Elk side, the pattern seems to be quite easy to work out; we have, so far posted (sorted by serial number):
Electrons wrote:07-ALA01-0007393
02-ALA01-0013244
07-ALA01-0082614
06-ALA01-0078775
07-ALA01-0132842
07-ALA01-0155303
07-ALA01-0158014
Plus 1s wrote:12-ALA11-1001412
12-ALA11-1008017
Plus 3s wrote:04-ALA13-0100623
04-ALA13-0107510
The first part is unknown - the Elks all have 07 or 02 and expansion units have 04 or 12 (so this may factor).

The second part seems to always be ALA followed by a model number:
  • 01 = Electron
  • 11 = Plus 1
  • 13 = Plus 3
The final part seems to be the serial number; whether this starts at zero is unknown. The first two characters seem to be be related to the model (maybe), we can see:
  • 00 = Electron
  • 10 = Plus 1
  • 01 = Plus 3 or Electron
The above may not be true for Elks as we can guess over 100,000 of them were sold; but I doubt 100,000 Plus 1s or Plus 3s were sold.

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby tautology » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:31 am

jms2 wrote:No idea what the second letter means. L=Electron and M=Master are both reasonably logical, but why K=Archimedes when monitors were given the letters AKF?

This may be 'cos the monitors were designed for the Arc, so they may have been given the same line code. When I saw AK; I always read ArKimedes :-)

jms2 wrote:There seems to be some pattern to the third letter - its usually a B. I think this means BBC branding which might explain why its A for the Electron. That said the Risc PC is "ACB" so that undermines the theory somewhat. Maybe the person who devised the system had left by that point!

Or they changed it in the 10 years between the Beeb and the Risc PC.

It'd be interesting to see some Atom/System codes - maybe compile a full list of known codes for official Acorn products!

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby flibble » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:43 am

tautology wrote:It'd be interesting to see some Atom/System codes - maybe compile a full list of known codes for official Acorn products!


ChrisW has beaten us to it :)

http://acorn.chriswhy.co.uk/ProductCodes.html

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby tautology » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:45 am

jms2's post got me to look at some of the Acornsoft games I have; I know similar has been posted before; but whilst we're talking about it. I have, in my small collection (All for Electron and on Cassette, except for View and Viewsheet, which are on ROM):

SCB03 (View)
SCB07 (Viewsheet)
SLB01/C (Desk Diary)
SLB05/C (Personal Money Management)
SLG07/C (Sphinx Adventure)
SLG22/C (Starship Command)
SLG31/C (Boxer)
SLG38/C (Elite)

Others (from [url=http://stardot.org.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1157&hilit=SLG]this thread) show that the Beeb games had SBG, so the pattern for Acornsoft seems to be:
SHTnn/M

Where:
  • H = Hardware type (L = Electron, B = BBC, C = ROM(?))
  • T = Type (B = Business, G= Game)
  • nn = numer
  • M = Media (C = Cassette)

I like reverse engineering stuff too :-)

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby SarahWalker » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:38 pm

tautology wrote:The first part is unknown - the Elks all have 07 or 02 and expansion units have 04 or 12 (so this may factor).


As jms2 said, this is probably a manufacturer code.

The final part seems to be the serial number; whether this starts at zero is unknown.


It's possible some of this has other meanings, eg line number. Almost certainly varies between manufacturers. Note that the Plus 1 (starting with 10) and the Plus 3 (starting with 01) are made by different manufacturers than the Electron itself, and than each other.

I could be wrong, but I think each manufacturer has a separate run of serial numbers. Hence for a single product code (eg ALA01) you'd add up the estimates for each manufacturer (02, 06 and 07 in that case) to get a total. Which is where my estimate of 325k Electrons comes from.

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby BeebMaster » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:29 pm

TomWalker wrote:German tank problem - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_tank_problem.


Ah, thank you, it's totally clear now:
Not Lieut Gruber's Little Tank.png
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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby flibble » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:43 pm

BeebMaster wrote:
TomWalker wrote:German tank problem - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_tank_problem.


Ah, thank you, it's totally clear now:


I always thought the German tank problem was that they were vastly outnumbered by the Soviet T-34 ...

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby 1024MAK » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:33 pm

Here's some more serial numbers along with some other system details :D
As you will see, some of the Beeb PSU's have date codes later than the expected date of the machine, so I presume these have been renewed.
Also I started listing the manufacturer as Acorn if no other identity marking was visible, but if the first two digits of the serial number are related to the manufacturer, in my list this breaks down. Either one of mine has a case that does not match the rest of the unit or the relationship is more complex :mrgreen: . Or I have made a mistake :lol:
Some IC's (chips) have date codes. Do you think it worthwhile recording some of these?

Mark K.
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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby Slo » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:16 pm

Ive got two electrons

02-ALA01-0016520
06-ALA01-0082278

a plus 1

12-ALA11-1015528

and a plus 3

04-ALA13-0100145
BBC Computer 32K
BASIC
>*DOWNLOAD EVERYTHING POSSIBLE
Searching
_

Erm....gonna need a sh!tload of memory pal :/

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby SarahWalker » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:57 pm

Thanks for those.

Few new / updated estimates :

BBC B - Keltek (manufacturer 08 I believe) : 32,120
BBC B - AB : 104,733
BBC B - Cleartone : 5,097
BBC B - ICL : 34,271
BBC B - manufacturer 01 : 174,308 (ANB01 and ANB03)
BBC B - manufacturer 03 : 113,171 (ANB01 only)

These aren't all the manufacturers - RACE haven't been counted as there aren't enough serials yet (but it looks similar numbers to ICL). Also 06 and 07 haven't been mapped, but they might be any of the above.

I think 02 is Wong, and 01 and 03 are probably Astec and BSR, but I'm not sure which way round.

Anyway, that gives a current BBC B total of 463,700. Albeit with quite a bit missing.

Others :

Electron - 313,927
Electron Plus 1 - 19,899
Electron Plus 3 - 10,012
Master 128 - 287,154
A3020 AGB22 (2mb FD) - 71,838

Looks like Plus 1 and Plus 3 totals might be exactly 20,000 and 10,000.

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby jms2 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:03 pm

Both of my BBCs were made by BSR, but one is 01-ANB03 and the other is 03-ANB01. Based on that, I'm not convinced that the first 2 digits are the manufacturer.

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby jms2 » Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:38 am

Looking at Chris Whytehead's list, its pretty clear that there are no overall rules for the allocation of product codes. Some of them are grouped, and there's often logic within each group, but this must have been decided at the time on the whim of the person entering the codes into whatever system was used to keep track of them.

I reckon the initial numbers are the same - sometimes they might refer to manufacturers, sometimes they don't.

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby SarahWalker » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:38 pm

Just out of interest, is it possible for you to post pictures of the serial numbers from your BSR beebs?

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby paulv » Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:21 pm

As a note regarding BSR. My Cleartone Issue 2 has a PSU marked as BSR and the serial is definitely Cleartone. I can provide photo's if needed.

Paul

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby station240 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:10 am

US style Model B
ANB03-9900476

normal Model B
02-ANB02-1000536

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby SarahWalker » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:14 am

jms2 wrote:Both of my BBCs were made by BSR


Did you get this from the back of the machine, on the power supply? I'm not convinced there's any connection between the PSU manufacturer and the machine manufacturer, even before you consider the possibility of PSUs being changed. I've seen Astec and BSR PSUs on machines made by AB, ICL, RACE etc. I'm not even entirely sure Astec and BSR actually made BBCs rather than just PSUs.

Of course if BSR is printed on the bottom of the machine then that's a different matter.

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby jms2 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:50 pm

ah...

yes the "manufactured by BSR" label was on the brown panel at the back of the PSU, not on the base. I thought that was part of the case itself.

I'll have a look underneath and photograph the serial nos.

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby flibble » Fri Jul 29, 2011 6:51 pm

My apologies for not getting these to you sooner, but I was out of the country.

01-AMB15-0087806 - Master 128
72-ACB45-1016393 - RiscPC 600
72-SRP05-1001035 - RiscPC
80-AMC25-1012679 - A7000
80-AMC50-1011792 - A7000+
80-TNS10-1005676 - Acorn NetStation

If I can convince my brother to root through some cupboards I may be able to get more :)

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Re: How many Beebs sold? - German tank problem

Postby jms2 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:47 pm

Tom - here are my pictures of my two Issue 7 BBCs.

First one:
Serial number sticker - upside down! Maybe made in Australia?!
03-ANB01-3050390-A.jpg
(63.14 KiB) Downloaded 3341 times


And interior - note white keyboard PCB.
03-ANB01-3050390-B.jpg
(73.1 KiB) Downloaded 3341 times



Second one:
Serial number sticker - looks totally different.
01-ANB03-5024856-A.jpg
(67.78 KiB) Downloaded 3341 times


And interior - red keyboard PCB.
01-ANB03-5024856-B.jpg
(71.63 KiB) Downloaded 3341 times



They do look to have been made in different places.


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